This might seem like one of those no-brainer statements that make you utter, "Well, duh" to yourself, but the focus of the Kansas City Royals heading into each series this season simply needs to be on winning that series.
The more times the Royals are able to take two-of-three, or three-of-four, the better. Obviously, winning at a .667 (or .750) clip will keep Kansas City at or near the top of the American League Central standings all season long.
By losing, 4-3, to the Minnesota Twins last night at the Metrodome in Minneapolis, though, they've made that a difficult task to accomplish in only their second series of the year. The Royals hope to get their foot out of the bucket today when right-hander Gil Meche takes the bump at 1:10 p.m.
Meche (0-0) pitched a decent game in Detroit during Monday's Opening Day. It certainly wasn't his "A" game, but it was good enough to give the Royals a chance to eventually rally against the Tigers and win the game, 5-4, on a bloop single to center by Tony Pena. Meche went six innings, allowing eight hits and three earned runs, while striking out five and walking four.
The Twins counter with their newly-acquired ace, Livan Hernandez (1-0), who helped Minnesota post a 3-2 victory against the Angels on Opening Day at the Dome. It sure makes for a good pitching matchup, which unfortunately won't be on TV (at least not in the Twin Cities). So I talked my wife into letting me head out to the game today, and I'll be there tomorrow, as well.
I'm hoping Meche and the Royals can put themselves back in position to win this series with a strong outing today, and I'm also hoping to see a few lineup changes. Catcher Miguel Olivo is back from his four-game suspension to start the season, and will make his first appearance in a Royals uniform this afternoon. I'd also like to see Alberto Callaspo get an opportunity to play shortstop, as Pena has struggled out the gates to an .067/.067/.067 line.
We'll see what happens, but today's game is crucial. To be 4-1 after today would seem so much better than to fall back to 3-2. After beginning the year with such promise by sweeping Detroit, it would be a real disappointment to lose this series against the Twins.
Let's go, Royals!